NAME THAT TUNE: TYPES OF DEPRESSIVE AND MOOD DISORDERS
Depression has been called by many names over the span of human existence.
- “D” words win with the most entries…which seems only fair—Despondency
Despair Disconsolate Dispirited Doleful
Downbeat Downcast Downhearted Dejected Down
in the Dumps Desolate
- “B” words have a nice bluesy feeling—Blahs Blues
Blue devils Blue funk
- “M” words are found in classical literature—Melancholic (big with the ancient
Greeks) Moody Miserable Moping Mournful
Mirthless (very Edwardian)
- How about the “L” words for classy—Lachrymose (now doesn’t that sound classier than
tearful) Low-spirited Lugubrious
- Even the “S” words have a certain ring—Sad Somber
- The “W”
words sum it up—Wistful Woeful Woebegone.
You may think that you are suffering from depression, but you still have some questions
about whether the shoe is a perfect fit. And we do know now important it is to us ladies to have a perfect
Figuring out if it’s Major
(or Clinical) Depression or a Reactive Depression.
You may have
heard depression being referred to as Major Depression or Clinical Depression. Health care providers use
these two terms interchangeably.
You are more
likely to be suffering from Major or Clinical Depression if:
- You suffer
from MOST of the symptoms listed in the Depression Checklist (see COLUMN I )
- You have sleep disruption and appetite loss
- Your have noticed these symptoms DAILY for several weeks or months
- Your symptoms appear WITHOUT immediate cause
- Your daily functioning is severely impaired
You are more likely to be suffering from a Reactive Depression if:
- You have only a FEW of the symptoms listed in the Depression Checklist
- Your sleep and appetite are only slightly irregular
- Your have good days with normal mood mixed in with bad days with depressed mood
- Your symptoms occur primarily when upsetting things are
- Your daily functioning is only
AND there are yet others types
You are more likely to be suffering from
Dysthymia or general unhappiness if:
- You have only depressed mood and feelings of worthlessness
- Your sleep and appetite are normal
- You’ve felt this way on and off throughout most of your life
- Your symptoms do not interfere with daily functioning (you’re
just miserable while you do it!)
You are more likely to
be suffering from Abandonment Depression if:
- Your depressed mood is triggered
by being rejected, ignored, or abandoned by a loved one
- Your feel as though you’ve suddenly been dropped into a black hole with no hope of a future
- You experience rage mixed in with your depression
- You have strong urges to harm yourself or others
- Your symptoms completely disappear when you again feel
secure in your relationships
depression is linked to a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder (a topic for a future column).
Deciding if you have a mood disorder.
When your spells of feeling very down alternate with periods of feeling extremely up, it is possible
that you are suffering from a mood disorder.
The most common
mood disorder is Bipolar Spectrum Disorder, one variety of which used to be called Manic-Depressive illness.
You might have a Bipolar Spectrum Disorder if you have experiences
such as these:
- You feel on top of the world, much more self-confidant than usual
- You are so hyper that you get in trouble
- You are so irritable that you start fights
- You get much less sleep than usual but don’t really
- You can’t control how loud
or fast or how much you talk
- Your thoughts
are racing and jumbled and jump from topic to topic
have much more energy than usual and behave like you can’t be stopped
- You are much more social than usual—calling friends at three in the morning
- You are much more interested in sex than usual—and
forgetting to practice safe sex
have ideas or make plans which other people think are foolish, risky, or excessive
- You go on spending sprees that damage your financial situation
You may experience the up-mood or mania for several days at a time, even for weeks or
months at a time. When the up-mood is over, you plummet into a down-mood or depression that feels like
a bottomless pit.
If you’ve had full-blown manic episodes, even
just a few, where you’ve been hospitalized, ended up in jail, had delusions or hallucinations, didn’t sleep at
all for days on end, or needed to be dragged in by family for psychiatric care—then you are suffering from a Type-I
You could be at high risk
if you suffer from Type-I Bipolar Disorder because:
- You may refuse treatment
or blame others for your problems
- You may
not use good judgment in daily decisions
may engage in high risk behaviors such as promiscuity
- You may hear voices or have delusions
at the point when you are at highest risk, you are unlikely to be reading this Column. But if you think
you might have Type-I Bipolar Disorder, getting professional help NOW could keep you from becoming at risk in the future.
You will need to be willing to take medication to get help for this disorder.
When mania occurs to a lesser degree, it is called hypomania. For example, you feel hyper but
you don’t get into trouble, you sleep at least a few hours a night, and you don’t go out and buy a yacht.
This is Type-II Bipolar Disorder. You still may have to take medication to see
You may very well have had experiences
that indicate that you suffer from a mood disorder and yet have never received proper treatment. This is
not unusual. It typically takes seven to ten years of cycling mood before most people with mood disorders
obtain a correct diagnosis. You and your family have simply weathered the storms. However,
considering treatment at this stage of life could improve the quality of your life.
The treatment of choice for mood disorders most often involves medication. You need to see a psychiatrist
for this medication, not your general practitioner.
* * *
If you are feeling SUICIDAL and NEED IMMEDIATE HELP. GO DIRECTLY to a family member,
a friend, your physician, your pastor, or to the nearest hospital emergency room and TELL THEM YOU NEED HELP. Don’t
have the energy to do even that? Call 911 or one of these numbers:
1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255
For a Suicide Hotline in your state:
NEXT IN THE
SERIES: Change your depressed mood through action.